Chemo Hair Loss: Its Psychological Effects And Useful Ways To Cope With The Problem

When persons are diagnosed with cancer, one of the things they fear is losing their hair. Whether they like it or not, cancer patients will have to face instances of hair loss, especially when they undergo chemotherapy. Apparently, hair loss is one of the most common side effects that both men and women dread about after receiving a cancer diagnosis. The hair loss from a chemotherapy significantly depends on the type of medication and the dose given to the patient, the patient’s sensitivity to the drugs, and the past medications. However, maintaining a healthy body image is highly dependent on the patient’s attitude and outlook, as well as the support of their loved ones. Why does hair loss occur during chemotherapy?

According to Cancer Research UK, cancer medications can cause mild hair thinning, partial loss of hair, and alopecia, which is a complete loss of hair. Meanwhile, chemotherapy is the cancer treatment that usually causes hair loss. But why does losing of hair happen during this rigorous treatment? Hair loss happens primarily because of the chemotherapy drugs. Such medications are very strong and powerful to combat cancer cells and prevent them from growing. In effect, they also attack growing cells in the body, and this includes cells found in the hair roots.

Chemotherapy does not only take away the hair on the scalp but also on the eyebrows, eyelashes, pubic hairs, underarms, and legs, among others. There are some chemo medications that are highly known to cause hair loss. Apart from that, different drug doses have different effects as well, ranging from hair thinning to baldness.

It is best to speak with a doctor about the drug you should take so that you’ll know what to look forward to when the treatment is given. Although hair loss is already expected to happen during chemotherapy, it is just temporary. The hair grows back after the course of chemo treatment is over. This may take three to six months, and the hair may come back in a different color, curlier and softer than ever before.

What are the psychological and emotional effects of hair loss?

Most often, cancer patients who have experienced hair loss may suffer low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, among other emotional issues. It is very devastating for both men and women as it is typically cultural as the physicians say. A lot of societies around the world associate well-appointed hair with beauty, youth, and good health.

Human beings have ornamented themselves in a number of ways including nail cosmetics, hairstyles of all sorts, and tattoo for centuries. Many people, especially women, believe that their hair makes them feel more beautiful. Therefore, it can be very devastating to lose hair not only because of a particular illness but for whatever reason there may be.

Moreover, women correlate their hair with beauty, sexuality, and sensuality. The mere mention of hair invokes images of women who are famous for having magnificent, flowing locks. Thinning or loss of hair in women would make them believe that they are no longer gorgeous. On the other hand, hair is a key part of the psyche in men and represents virility. When men experience any conditions leading to hair thinning, hair loss, or baldness, they tend to believe that they are not as attractive or manly as they used to be.

How to cope with hair loss?

There are so many useful ways in which one can deal with the psychological and emotional effects of losing hair. These include;

Consider therapy talk. In cases whereby the emotional effects are very pressing, it is always good to seek help from a mental health professional. They will be able to advise their patients on how to cope with their hair loss and prescribe antidepressants if they haven’t overcome their situation. Hair loss is not life-threatening. Although it is unfortunate and unpleasant, it is always good to remember that there is still life after the hair loss. Apparently, chemotherapy doesn’t permanently take away the patient’s hair. In most cases, it recovers after the treatment, and it will start growing again like how it normally does. You can also save for a hair transplant when you’re fully recovered.

Find a suitable hairstyle from beauty professionals. Wearing a head scarf, wig, or hat may complement your fashion, but it is good to keep the hair short instead of hiding bald spots. In conclusion, hair loss due to chemotherapy may seem devastating, but one can take some steps to ensure that the condition is put into perspective. It is good to remember that hair loss will not get you down. Put your attention on ways of feeling more positive after getting the treatment.

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